Recommendation for Classes at UC3M

Spanish Grammar Course: I recommend this class for anyone willing to improve their Spanish. This is a good introduction to the Spanish you will hear around you everyday. People in Spain speak Castellano. The Spanish is much different than the one you hear in the United States. So this will teach you new vocabulary. Here, you will  be able to confidently talk with the locals, and understand Spanish grammar and conversation much better than before. A lot of what I learned here, I heard my host mom and family friends say. So it was super useful. I got to hear things I learned in the class, used outside of the classroom. And I too, got to practice using the same things I learned myself. It is a tough class, but I think it’s worth it if you want to challenge yourself and come back home with a better grasp of a new language. Why not?

Cultural Studies:  I enjoyed this class a lot because I learned so much about the very things I was experiencing. For example, I learned about the Spanish flag, about the Franco era, the significance of bull-fighting and football/soccer, etc. Learning about these very things helped me find more meaning living in Spain. I was able to understand Spanish culture with some background, some knowledge. My favorite topics were learning about Spanish women and debunking some of the stereotypes, learning about bullfighting and what it truly means for people for and against it, as well as everything involved with the Franco Era including his plead for football at the time. It is a tough class because of the heavy readings, and writing assignments that make up the bulk of class discussion, but you learn so much. This Professor has also been asked to teach this course in English next fall, so this summer, she will be working on finding material to teach it in the native language of her American students. So, think about it.

Theory and Practice of Short Story Course: I loved this class so much. I was able to read short stories by different Spanish authors and discuss literature all in Spanish. The Professor was so passionate about what he was teaching and that was the best part. His introduction to the course was great, and he followed through the entire time. We were also able to produce small writing exercises emulating some of the techniques and concepts we learned in class. We then used some of these exercises to create a short story. This pushed me to think about literature in a different language, and talk about literature in Spanish. 100 percent recommend if you love reading, writing, and talking about both.


Finals While at UC3M in Madrid

You might feel like finals will never end. This always happens. Every finals week. So, do not fret! Keep these things in mind:

  1. Breathe (Always!)
  2. Drink Water (Please!)
  3. Take breaks (20 min. Netflix shows,/A  phone call/ A walk)
  4. Have snacks (Fruit, Bars, and Candy for energy)
  5. Find a good study area with wifi that’s not at home (Starbucks with tables outside for fresh air and warmth)
  6. Bring a buddy who motivates you to do work just as much as you motivate them (My roommate)

At UC3M, finals week is over the course of an entire month in May. In my case, since I am in the Hispanic Studies Program, my Spanish courses had exams during the week of May 14-May 18.

I had 2 sit-down exams. I had a Spanish grammar exam that was 9 pages. It included all fill-in-the blank on colloquial phrases and situational dialogues we’ve learned, subjunctive mood, preterite tense vs. imperfect tenses, haber + participle verbs, vocabulary, etc. My other exam was for Cultural Studies and it included 5 essay questions on Spanish movies, art, clothing, the flag, and the meaning of the slogan “Spain is Different” from the Franco era.

My other classes had papers due. I wrote a short story in Spanish for my literature course, and wrote an article on bull-fighting for my History class. I spent 1 week studying for both exams 2-3 hours a day. I also began my written assignments 1-2 months in advance to hand them in prior to study week, in order to just focus on exams, which I highly recommend. Most of my exams are 55-60 percent of my final grade here at UC3M. I have a feeling that’s a European way of education. So definitely study, go to tutoring, and practice, practice practice.

My last exam is for Radio Workshop. We have not had an exam for this theoretical part of the course (powerpoint/lecture) this entire time. (I only had 2 exams for Grammar prior to the final exam). But, this professor did give a review of what will be on the exam potentially. This exam isn’t until May 30th because it is part of the undergraduate bachelor’s degree program.

Therefore, it feels like my exams are once again, never-ending. But the bright side is, I can pace my studying, and still enjoy my last weeks in Madrid.

Hope this is helpful for you all!

p.s.  2/5 of my classes (Radio Workshop and Cultural Studies) had 2 parts to the final exam. 1 week was a presentation/ project due. A couple of weeks later, we also had an exam. Keep that in mind! They both count.


The Land of Ice Chronicles: The boy with the pink and green aura

Ivon; His name is Ivon Roberts. Since the day I had an actual conversation with him, we’ve hung out like three times but it was like there was some instant connection there. Funny thing is, there was already an obvious connection between us that I actively ignored for like 3 months because I was stuck in such a negative mindset.

Let me elaborate.

If you’ve read all of these blogs or know me, you know I have an obsession with all things Korean. I even think I might have been a Korean Princess in a past life, but that’s beside the point. The point is that ever since I arrived here in Limerick, I had been praying to meet and chill with someone who shares my interest in the Asian Gods and Goddesses that make up the Korean entertainment industry. And yet, when I found out there were TWO people that shared this interest in MY DAMN CLASS, my negative mindset caused me to ignore the fact. I decided not to engage in too much conversation because I thought, “eh. They won’t like me because I’m American”, or “eh. They seem too popular to hang out with me… I’m a loser”.

Man, I sincerely wish I could go back in time and knock some damn sense into my naive self. I missed out on an amazing friendship for almost 5 months. But you know what, it does bring me joy that I ended up finding this friendship. Honestly, its one of the only things I’ll miss when I leave Ireland.

But why, though? Can thou explain?

I can. After talking to Ivon for a while, we’d decided to hit up the stables for the last couple “TGIF International Parties” they were having. Now, if you’ve read my other blogs, you are aware how much I despise the music they play. Yet, I really felt like this time would be different and BOY WAS IT. First off, I was actually happy the entire night. Four different guys actually came to talk to me because I guess they found me interesting. Whatever the case, Mama felt sexy as hell. I felt such a natural high just from being there with my newly made friend. That child is like a monster on the dancefloor; he will legitimately dance to anything and throw all of his energy into it. Needless to say, just by being around him for one song made me feel like I’d just had 17 shots of tequila. So the music wasn’t a bother; I started jamming to Party in the USA feeling like a proud Lil’ ditsy American. I went around and must’ve given 10 different strangers hugs just because I found them attractive. Mama was wild.

I had never felt so free in the 5 months that I’d been in Ireland so this was an actual big deal. I just felt so confident and I honestly think part of it came from the energy I was picking up from Ivon. He danced the entire night without a care in the world. He was just happy to be doing something that was fun for him and that alone was a joy to watch unfold. The next time we hit up stables again, it was just as magical and I am so glad. Now when I think about the on-campus club/bar, I am filled with joy, happiness, and laughter.

The third time we hung out, we went to go eat. We must’ve stayed in the restaurant for like 3 hours just talking about life and other things. I truly felt connected to someone Irish for the first time since I’d been here. I hadn’t had a talk like that with anyone in a really long time. I also hadn’t laughed that hard in a really long time and it felt amazing. Then we hopped in his car, and I listened to his album. Yeah, ya heard right. IVON IS A SINGER-SONGWRITER!!

If you know me, I am obsessed with music and love humans who create it. You can imagine my utter shock when I heard how professional all the songs on his album were. I was expecting like normal-grade college kid produced stuff. But boy, his stuff sounded like he’d spent years in a studio perfecting it all. The lyrics were also freaking spectacular. I related to almost every song and part of me wanted to use half of them and create a musical about the struggles my generation goes through. I was beyond amazed and like I- I just- speechless.

But I think the best part of that night was what he did and where he drove as I listened to all these fantastical songs. Ivon drove us to like two or three different counties as we heard his songs. He said he’d done it so now I can say I’ve explored more of Ireland and been to more parts of Ireland. The smol sensitive crybaby in me wanted to weep with gratitude. Nobody has ever done something like that for me and it literally warmed my heart.

When we got back in the area where the school was, I popped in some KPOP and boy am I glad I did. THIS IS PRICELESS!

When I got home, I felt so happy, grateful, joyous, and basically any other positive emotion you can think of. The boy with the pink and green aura had given me the gift of pure happiness, a thing which I’d forgotten the feeling of.

Thank you Ivon Alexander Roberts. You mean the world. Keep chasing your dreams and never doubt yourself, you will do great things for this world.

Stay tuned for next week’s chapter of

“The Land of Ice Chronicles”


The Land of Ice Chronicles: Maybe it isn’t that icy

Where was I? Ahh yes, my point of spiritual awakening and enlightenment.

So I found a meditation video on youtube and was shocked at how much of my jaw pain it relieved. The guided meditation took me travelling through galaxies, which allowed me to leave all my troubles and worries behind me. Here, in a space that my own mind created, I could see just how small my problems were in the grand scheme of things. I realized the power of my mind at that point. I could meditate any time I wanted to and go into this safe space. So that’s what I did. I meditated every single day and every day I began to learn new things about myself. I learned that all the sunlight I was in desperate need of was already inside me. Respectively, I learned that all the darkness that was keeping me from realizing this was also deep within me. I came to the realization that it was only I who could control what mood I am in; I, alone, decide the fate of my future and whether it is a positive one or a negative one.

Once I learned all of these lessons and became very in touch with my spirituality, amazing things began to happen. For one, I signed up for a weight-loss program and I’ve lost about 10 pounds since then. It doesn’t get any better than that people.

I also saw a Michael Jackson Impersonator show and GOT TO SING one of the lyrics into the microphone. I’m friends on Instagram with one of the dancers from the show. LIFE COULD NOT BE BETTER, my friends.

This ain’t even the best part, ya’ll.

I also started to feel and sense energies. I started to see in my mind’s eye the energy and its corresponding colour that people radiated out into the universe. The colours were so magnificent and mesmerizing. I started to think back on how I could’ve been friends with all these beautiful humans who gave the universe the light and energy that it requires to survive. I could’ve been hit with all these waves of yellow, blue, turquoise, pink, and green too. So I thought, “hey why not start now? It is never too late for friendships to bloom”. That’s the day I decided to approach the boy with the most beautiful energy I’d ever seen; the boy with the pink and green aura. But you’ll hear about that soon.

For now, you should just walk away learning the lesson that we are in charge of our own fate and destiny. We can either conjure up our worst fears or summon our wildest dreams.

The choice is yours.

If you’d like to read about the boy with the pink and green aura,

then read the next chapter of

“The land of Ice Chronicles”

The Land of Ice Chronicles: A little piece of home

I am aware that you are excited to see how I reached the state of enlightenment that I am now at. First, however, you need to know what happened just right before I reached my lowest point.

It was the beginning of Spring Break and my mom was flying in tomorrow morning. I was so excited I could barely sleep. On top of that, I mustered up enough of my courage to go to a meetup group that said a party was going on that night. You know me; I love parties so I was expecting a huge turn-out and a bunch of hotties to flirt with. Yet, the people that went to the meetup were not at all hotties. Everyone at this meetup was in their late 30s/early 40s. I legit wanted to cry; again the country had let me down. Not only that but because I was expecting to meet GUYS MY AGE, my outfit was showing my goodies. You know what that means, right?

Throughout the entire meetup, I burned to death in my thick ass coat.

The night was a nightmare; even the club we went to afterward was playing crappy music. I just kept looking up at the sky like “WHY ME?! I HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG”. When I got back home, I just kept thinking about how my mom was coming. She always has a positive outlook on life so perhaps she’d help me shift my mindset back to a positive state. When she arrived I wrapped my arms around her tighter than I ever had before. I missed my mom so much; she was my best friend who I loved hanging out with. That same day we walked all the way to the movies and explored Limerick. I’d been to all the places we went already but everything seemed brighter. It was like my mom was a vessel for the sunlight I was in deep need of. I swear, I have never smiled so much since I’d come to Ireland. I was truly happy for the first time in months and I really didn’t want it to end…

Hence.. when it was coming to an end, I could feel myself slipping back into a depression. I felt like my only source of sunlight was leaving me and that all hope was gone. And that’s when it started; I couldn’t sleep. I’d wake up every hour because I felt this intense pain in my teeth and jaw. I felt like I was being stabbed repeatedly on the left side of my face and I couldn’t take it. I called my mom in tears yelling that I wanted to go back home. The pain was that unbearable. I even talked to all the professors here to see about leaving early. I was ready to get my ass back where the sun shines. But it turned out, that process would still take time. If I wanted to go home early, I probably couldn’t for another week until everything was sorted out. I just wanted to cry even more; I could not take another week in this hell-hole without my mom. I just wanted to be back home where everything is familiar and comfortable.

In the meantime, however, I went to the medical Centre to get myself checked out. He said he thought I might’ve popped a muscle in my jaw so he prescribed me anti-inflammatories. The hope was that doc was right and that I’d get better and make it through the rest of the semester. But the pain was so bad sometimes, I felt like I needed to be rushed to an emergency room.

That’s when I started looking for anything that could help temporarily kill my pain. Fortunately enough, I came across a meditation video that ended up changing my life. A meditation video that would finally make me into the bright joyful being I once was.

But you’ll hear about that next time…

Keep Reading “The Land of Ice Chronicles” 

The Land of Ice Chronicles: Adjustment 101 [loss of interest, rise of negativity]

I have the flu now and I am bed-ridden. This meant that I had to miss all of my classes for about a week. I was forced to just stay in bed and watch Netflix. And in the beginning, I wanted to go out and go to class but after a day or two… I grew accustomed to my room and my ned. I grew too accustomed to them. On top of that, the flu caused my mindset to revert to one of complete negativity. That mindset caused me to look at all the things I hated in this country. I know what y’all are thinking; What could you possibly hate in such a green-coloured country said to be full of leprechauns? Oh, you’d be surprised. When you’re in a negative mindset, everything can be turned to shit and blown out of proportion somehow.

For example, the 15-minute walk from my house to classes started to feel like endless miles and miles of torturous walking. Every time it rained, I would have a mini panic-attack because of the hatred and lack of appreciation I had of rain. I got fed up with the Friday night parties at the stables bar because the DJ played the same music every single night and it was all crap. I hated the fact that now nobody would pay attention to me at the parties. I hated the weather for every time I’d get all pretty with makeup, the rain would mess it all up and cause me to cancel all plans and just stay home. I was upset because I couldn’t watch the things I wanted to on Netflix. I was tired of eating potatoes and having to put butter in my peanut butter because it tasted like a batter of wilting nuts. I was mad at the pizza because it wasn’t as good as South Korea’s, or even NYC’s. And the thing that always kicked me in the head was how small the bathrooms are here; It’s like they only think about the people with no fat in their body and no meat on their asses. Mama got meat all over her body; those tiny stalls had both sides of my hips colliding with either side of the wall. And if that wasn’t already annoying…

YoU hAvE tO pAy 20cEnTs tO TaKe A pIsS iF yOu’Re In ThE MaLL

Needless to say, since I was focusing on all these things, I was not getting better. After I was cured of the flu, I caught an ear infection that took about a month and a half to fade away. And once that was gone, I got hit with the worst of it. But… I’ll tell you about that later.

The big point here is that I was taking everything I had here for granted; I was just focusing on the negatives and creating imaginary negatives in the positives. I was lost in a sea of depression, darkness, self-loathing, homesickness and that contributed to making my physical body ill. It’s a funny thing, the mind. It’s a powerful thing, the mind. It’s this being that scientist haven’t been able to crack; it’s a thing that will heal a dying body when it is given a placebo pill, only because it believes it is being given real medicine. The mind is the thing that will determine what the physical body receives and gives off. It wasn’t until I learned this lesson, that my life in Ireland changed for the better. It wasn’t until I learned this lesson, that I was changed for the better.

Curious to see how my life changed?

You’ll have to wait until next week’s chapter of “The Land of Ice Chronicles”

[Also, sorry for the long wait between the publication of chapters. That’s why I published three in one day to make up for lost chances :). I hope you enjoy and learn from my mistakes]

The Land of Ice Chronicles: Adjustment 101 [The Party and The After-Party]

It’s Friday night and my hormones are raging. Tonight is the big night! Tonight is the night that I experience what the NIGHTCLUB on campus has to offer. I am beyond excited and I feel completely confident in the outfit I’m in. I’m wearing my tiara again and I feel and look like royalty. I walked to the stables club with the biggest smile on my face and a heart full of hope. Perhaps I’d meet my knight in shining armour at this shindig. Perchance I’d get to experience the feeling of someone else’s lips on mine (it’s been a while and mama wanted some sugar).

When I got to the stables centre, I saw people at every corner. Nobody was dancing but it still brought me joy to know that the room was full of opportunities to make new friends and meet people from all corners of the world. I specifically had my eye on a group of Japanese boys; I always tended to get along with Asians easily so the fact that there were some of them here brought me relief. Within minutes, I’d become immersed in conversation with this group of people; it was fantastic. One of the guys I met (Ko-Sato) had been there for a semester already and had somewhat morphed into an Irish Japanese man. He was honestly my favourite though. Dancing around with him and just talking to him reminded me of one of my best friends that I met at New Paltz.

After having spent a lot of time with Ko-Sato, I longed to meet more people and well try and seek a hot guy to dance with. That’s when I saw him; this caramel-coloured angelic being dancing in a corner. I went up and spoke to him and found out that he was actually born and raised Japanese with one of his parents being of American descent. The combination of the two ethnicities made a beautiful new form of species I low-key wanted to pounce on. Had me like:

Lucky for me, towards the end of the party, I did dance with the caramel-coloured Asian. We did kiss a bit and, yes, it was amazing to have my lips being stimulated again after 5 months of nothing. He was also just a really nice guy which made me happy. Before I left to go home, we exchanged information and he even said he wanted to hang out sometime outside of the club.

I smiled and said, “yeah, we should”. Then I was off to my home and screeching about the experience with my mom and my best friend from back home. I took this request of ‘hanging out’ to mean that this caramel angel actually wanted to date me; a thought that excited all of the cells in my body because I’d never really been on a date my entire 21 years of life.

I was intensifying everything for myself. THAT IS A BAD THING; NEVER AGAIN. I kept having all these daydreams and expectations of how it would feel to be on a real date for the first time. Wanna know what it was like? Sorry, I can’t tell you because


After messaging this guy to try and pick the date and location to hang out, I realised he was just like all the other men. All he wanted was a piece of ass.

Don’t get me wrong, normally that fact wouldn’t upset me at all. I mean I walked into the club hoping for a hot make-out session; guys walk into clubs expecting that to lead to a steamy one-night. But that ain’t my type of thing- I can kiss a guy and dance with him but that’s it. My body is a temple and I’m not ready for all the drama that comes attached to the loss of virginity. The reason why I was so mad at the realisation that this guy was just like all other guys was that of the way everything happened. When I was clubbing in Korea, the guys try to get you to leave the club and get busy so you know right away exactly what they want. This caramel devil in disguise was so gentle and his request to hang out seemed so innocent and lacking any sexual innuendos. So when I found out the truth, I was heavily disappointed.

This realisation didn’t come until Sunday though. So for a whole two days, I felt 100% adjusted to this country and its newness and vibrancy. For two whole days, I was happy enough to forget about my longing to be home. It was the first time since I’d been in Ireland, that I slept through the night with no worries or fear. Hence, when I did learn the truth, I was propelled back down into this bubble of homesickness, self-pity, and lowkey-depression.

I tried to be as positive as I could be though. Tomorrow would mark the start of classes so I had to at least try and maintain a positive attitude. And I was somewhat successful. I was, slowly but surely, re-adjusting to being a college student living on UL’s campus in Limerick, Ireland. I was just about comfortable with everything right before I contracted the flu.


Interested in learning what comes next?

Then, continue reading “The Land of Ice Chronicles”

The Land of Ice Chronicles: Adjustment 101 [Week 1]

“Rise and Shine”, my alarm seemed to yelp at the top of its lungs at 7am on a Monday morning.

I smiled as I woke up; it was the first day of Orientation.

For some odd reason, I was excited for Orientation week. It was fun in South Korea and it was a blast when I was a freshman in New Paltz so I had high expectations. I put on a ton of makeup, put on my cutest outfit and even wore my tiara. I was convinced that today was going to be an amazing day and I wanted to feel like a queen while I experienced it.

I walked into the auditorium where all the orientation stuff was happening and was able to talk to people more easily this time than when I was at Eden the day before. I made a few friends and then we were all off to get our Student IDs and going on a tour of the school. Our tour guide was Edward and he was a literal ball of energy; he called me Princess the entire day (which I admit made me feel like royalty). However, there is one thing he said at some point that harshed my mood just a bit that day. We were all talking about reasons we decided to come here and when it was my turn, I told my truth “I’m 25% Irish so I wanted to see what I was missing”. Before I could finish my sentence Ed cut me off and said:

“Hah- Americans always going around saying things like I’m 3% Polish, 0.001%Irish, 4%African…”

That response caught me off-guard and I admit that, at the moment, I wanted to roundhouse kick Edward in the face. It enraged me so much; that was so uncalled for. It made me feel so unwelcome in the country I was in. Even though I let it all slide after it happened, I think that it was that moment that kept me in a negative mindset for most of my semester here at UL. On the low-key, I couldn’t stop thinking about that one moment. It always seemed to remind me of the untrue thought I had; “I don’t belong here. Coming here was a mistake”. And then I would make it worse for myself by comparing the journey I was having here to the one I had in South Korea. I’d tell myself things like “if we were only in Korea we’d be happy”. The fact is that in Korea, I’d say things like “I think my spirit is Korean” and Koreans would just smile, laugh, hug me, and invite to go to places with them. Yet, here, a country where I have an actual ancestral history with wasn’t accepting me as being a part of it?

I know. I know. I was being 100% overdramatic is what I was being. The truth is that happiness shouldn’t be placed on anything external. It should always be something that is within you. After all, happiness is an emotion and we are the people that control when and why we feel or don’t feel it. This is a lesson that I wouldn’t learn until months after my first week in Ireland.

But before we get to my moment of enlightenment, let me tell you about my journey of getting there. So after the tour, we all went out for a beer which was pretty great. That’s one thing I love about this campus; there’s a bar on it. A bar that doubles as a nightclub. So you could imagine my excitement for the International Students Party. And I’m not gonna lie, when I look back at the first Stables Friday Party, I like to think it was pretty amazing.

Why was it so amazing?

Continue reading “The land of Ice Chronicles” and you’ll find out!

Returning to the USA: The Home-Stretch and Missing Home, Part 1

It’s already April. Around this time, studying abroad gets even harder because it’s the home-stretch. End-of-the-year projects are creeping up. The end of classes is in about a month. Home is not too far away either. All is in sight.

So this month should be about getting on top of school work, working little by little on rounding out those projects, and making sure you’re giving time for yourself, and to see the rest of Spain.

Here’s what I’ve been doing to keep afloat before returning to the U.S.: Waking up with a good amount of sleep. Checking in on my planner to see what to tackle first. After 1-2 assignments, taking a break to write in my journal, or write a letter home, watch a short episode of my favorite TV series, or call home. Then, with a light snack and drink of water, I get back on my grind. After another assignment or two, I take a walk outside to get a late lunch and some fresh air.

Apart from academics in my mind, knowing that I am going home soon makes me keeping thinking about home more. But keep in mind that you will never get this experience back the way you experienced it now. So, enjoy it, relish in the good, the bad, and always reflect upon it. Be aware that a lot might have changed back home and at the university. For example, my friends might be moving off campus, and my brother and sister will be a year older than when I last saw them. You miss out on stuff, but you gain some stuff, too. That’s okay!

Around this time, I would also say to check in on your grades. University in Madrid, Spain isn’t the same as university at New Paltz. Not all my grades are online, and not all my projects are turned in back to me in the time I’d like it to be, or that I’m used to. So, check in if you are curious.

Also, hang out with people you don’t want to forget while being abroad. Friendships here can be pretty special. Hold onto those people, and create new memories. I’ve been really grateful for the relationship I have with my roommate here, and she’s leaving a couple of weeks sooner than me. So in an effort to see a bit more of Spain together, and cross things off our list, we are planning a trip to Valencia for our 5-day break in late April. Super stoked.

Last but not least, hang in there! Projects will get completed. Essays will be turned in. Exams will be over soon. It’s only a matter of time. And then, home sweet home.

I am ready to see my brother and sister, hear my grandma’s voice, eat home-cooked food from my Puerto Rican culture. I am ready to hear my Dad’s life-lesson talks, and my mom’s advice. I am ready for summer back in New York. I can’t wait to see my friends. Almost everyone has celebrated their”21st” and I cannot wait to celebrate life with them, too.

I am also really excited for my last summer before my last year of college. I can’t believe how my time at New Paltz is almost coming to an end as an undergrad. And yet, I am still here in Madrid, Spain, trying to live my best life, while thinking about how my life at New Paltz will be, too.

I am glad I chose Madrid to speak Spanish, learn about history, and get out of my comfort zone. But as of now, I am ready to come home. I just need to visit Barcelona and Paris (if I can), to feel completely gratified by my stay here. Even so, it’s been a good run.

I believe I have so much love and support from home while being abroad, so I feel really good about coming home. And will try my best not to talk about Spain, too much. I don’t want to overload them with my reverse culture shock. Plus, one day, I want to show them where I’ve been if I can.

I also know I need to enjoy Madrid, sweet Madrid, while I can.


So here’s to about 2 months to going home! Wow!


Traveling in Spain from Madrid: Toledo, Segovia, Granada and Other Small Towns

Toledo: This place is wonderful! It is a cute, quaint city of Spain. I recommend going in the late afternoon 3-5 p.m. as you can see the sun begin to come down, and then also get a bit of the night skyline. Both views are spectacular. Here, you can walk up the hills and see the structures that look like ancient ruins and castles. There are museums, but I was just interested in the view of Madrid from the top of the hill, and the outside of the cathedral which illuminated so beautifully in the evening around 8 p.m. It is about a 1 hour ride by bus from a train stop/bus station called Plaza Eliptica. You can use your monthly metro card to get here, so it’s a win-win! This can totally be a day trip (3-6 hours with traveling, eating, snapping pics, and visiting the other touristic sites within). I did this trip in January, and really enjoyed it as it gave me an insight into what else Spain has to offer my very 1st couple of weeks here.

Segovia: This place is known for its famous aqueduct and Disney-Inspired logo–the castle! The aqueduct is a sight to see as its so large in stature with so many arches. The castle is also beautiful and I got to go inside, which was awesome. I had never been inside a castle before, so I was living some of my childhood, princess dreams. I did this trip through a student organization many universities in Europe are partnered with called, ERASMUS. I paid 20 euros to get to and from this city within the southern community of Madrid on a private bus for students, and to get a tour of the place with free-time included. I would suggest however, getting there on your own by Renfe (public train using your monthly metro card) because then you can walk around, eat, and head back home at your own pace. It will probably take an hour and a half by train. I went in February when it was raining a lot, so I suggest going when it gets warmer. This is also a day trip! You may need 3-5 hours depending on if you decide to shop and eat here as well.

Granada: This place is known by all of Spain because it has the famous fortress and castle here called the Alhambra. I took the ALSA bus there and it cost about 30 euros roundtrip from Madrid. It is about 4.5 hours away and so compared to a Trailways bus, it’s a great price! I visited this fortress, and saw it from the outside at a place called “Mirador de San Nicolas.” It was an insane view. The left part of the view had mountains. The middle had the most visited site of Spain, the castle, Alhambra. And the right side had the rest of the city. Getting to the city center from the main bus station where the ALSA bus left us was great because the main buses to the city center were right in the front (as well as taxis if need be). My friend and I also visited the Bañuelo, an arabic bath, and the Casa de Oro (House of the Gold Oven) with arches, pools, and spectacular ceilings.  Granada, which is in Andalusia Spain, has Arabic influence, as it is in the south of Spain very much near Morocco. You can take a ferry from this part of Spain to Morocco (that’s exactly what I did to get there with a travel agency for students and young adults called City Life Madrid). Granada was quite special and very much reminded me of the roads and colorfulness of Morocco. I stood here for 1.5 days, so this can be a weekend trip. I recommend buying tickets to get inside the Alhambra in advance. Thousands of people visit this site everyday, so tickets are often sold out.

Other Towns By Renfe (Outdoor Train/Cercanias Line):  I recommend checking out the towns of El Escorial, Aranjuez, and Guadarrama by taking the outdoor train (Cercanias line). You can use your monthly metro card here, too! So no need to pay any extra to get to these cool towns.

El Escorial has a wonderful monastery that is gorgeous. It took my friend and I about 1.5 hours to get through the inside of this majestic place filled with dungeons and a royal library.  It only cost 5 euros. So worth it!

Aranjuez has a beautiful palace on the outside and inside. Insane glass windows and royalty all around. It only cost 4 euros. Again, so worth it!

Guadarrama is great for hiking! It gives you a little bit of New Paltz in Madrid, and is so gorgeous. The view is amazing, and unreal as usually you don’t expect to see snow in Madrid, but it was so awesome. It reminded me why I love New Paltz so much!

Once you get to the bus station, there are maps, signs, and info desks to ask about which way is the best way to get to the touristic places. Follow those signs, and maps, and you will get to those touristic places within 5-10 minutes from the Renfe Station (Cercanias line).

Other Local Places within Madrid: 

Check out the Light House of Moncloa (only 3 euros).

Check out Takos near Sol or Gran Via or Callao train stops (best tacos ever for 1 euro each).

Check out the Madrid Zoo and Aquarium (23.5 euros) but amazing experience! I got to feed flamingos, see a dolphin and bird show, and take selfies with bears and giraffes.

p.s. Me feeding flamingos at the zoo in Madrid!